Scarlett Louis, whose son Jesse was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, also wrote a powerful essay detailing the grueling defamation lawsuit against the ‘Infowars’ host.
Last Friday, a Texas jury awarded $45.2 million to the parents of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting in their defamation suit against Alex Jones. The Infowars host and conspiracy theorist repeatedly claimed that the nation’s second deadliest school shooting was a hoax designed to bolster gun control policies. The very real tragedy of Sandy Hook claimed the lives of 20 children and six teachers.
The punitive damages are in addition to the $4.1 million in compensatory damages the court ordered Jones to pay Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed at the school. After the verdict was released, Lewis revealed that Jones slipped her a note in court — an apology.
“On the last day before the punitive damages, he handed both Neil and I a note. And it basically said that he was very truly sorry and that he extended an olive branch and wanted to work with the Choose Love Movement to bring more love into schools, homes, and communities around the world,” Lewis explained on CNN.
Lewis founded the Choose Love Movement, a nonprofit organization with a mission to “create safer schools and a safer world by teaching people how to use nurturing, healing love in any circumstance,” in 2013, shortly after the December 2012 tragedy.
“Do you buy it?” asked CNN anchor John Berman of Jones’ remorse, to which Lewis said she that she is waiting and added “I have hope.”
When Lewis was testifying in court on August 2, she had one of the few opportunities to look Jones in the eye and directly address him. She reflected on her powerful statement to Jones during the CNN video, saying that when she looked into his eyes she saw “a very lonely person. I saw somebody with a huge void, and I realized that that was where the lies and the greed were actually coming from. To fill that.”
One of the most offensive parts of Jones’ insistence that not only Sandy Hook, but other violent tragedies, were hoaxes is the amount he profited off them. According to NPR, an attorney showed the judge an email from an Infowars business officer saying they had earned $800,000 selling merchandise in one day, which would amount to almost $300 million annually.
She also said that it was her son Jesse that gave her the strength to stand up to Jones. The 6-year-old stood up to the shooter and saved the lives of nine of his classmates and lost his own by doing so. “You know, in comparison, he was standing up to the ultimate bully, so I was able to do that with Alex and having Jesse right behind me.”
Lewis also penned a moving essay for Newsweek outlining how necessary the path to forgiveness was for her as she healed from the trauma inflicted on her by Jones’ conspiracy theory. Still, forgiveness doesn’t relinquish people from accountability for their harmful actions.
“Forgiveness is what I do for myself, but Alex Jones is still accountable for his actions. And there still has to be a message to the world, to people that are modeling themselves on Alex Jones and his team, that this isn't OK. That we won't tolerate not prioritizing truth in our society.”
You can read Lewis’s powerful essay in its entirety here.